Opinion: 104 Days until the Blue Mall

POSTED: 11/6/11 2:01 PM

Is there a future for the Blue Mall? If we have to believe an ad from Fondo de Valores Immobilarios, which is, freely translated, a shopping mall developer, the imposing building in Cupecoy will finally come to life on February 17 of next year.
At least now we have a date for an official opening of a building that has been around for quite some time. Part of the $60 million property was first scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2009.
Blue Properties announced at the time on its web site that the Blue residence – consisting of 39 luxury apartments covering 100,000 square meters of floor space – would be opened during that quarter.
But 2008 came to an end and rolled into 2009, and nobody moved into one of these apartments. The opening never happened.
In June 2009, then Commissioner of Labor Hyacinth Richardson toured the empty shell. He had good news for the developer: the government would support the company if there was a need to import foreign labor. The developer, Luis Gioia, in turn promised that the shopping mall would open in June 2010, and that everything was on schedule.
Well, that now turned out to be not entirely true. First the summer and the winter of 2010 went by without an official opening, and now the year 2011 is practically coming to an end. And still there is no sign of life in this scar on the landscape in Cupecoy.
We visited the Blue Mall in August and we noticed one thing. The building was ready – on the outside. Inside there was absolutely nothing apart from the Blue Mall office on the first floor. The rest was empty space, a lot of it.
All this could change of course in the next couple of months after all, Fondo de Valores Immobilario still has 104 days until the grand opening on February 17.
How many foreign workers will be employed at this complex? And why does a company that claims twenty years of experience in developing shopping mall development plan an official opening three days after one of the highlights in the retail business, namely Valentine’s Day? It does not make a lot of sense, but then, we are in the newspaper business and we have no experience with shopping malls.
The jubilant ad that announces the official opening on February 17 of next year shows some obscure pictures of projects the company developed in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. We’re not sure whether these projects are successes or looming failures, but we obviously wish the company all the success it needs.
Right now, we’re stuck with an ugly empty building whose only benefit is that the developer had to fork over $1 million to build a decent road from its location towards Mullet Bay. In that sense, the local population is already enjoying limited benefits from the Blue Mall. What else will come of this, remains to be seen. Mark February 17 – a Friday – in your agenda, but don’t hold your breath.

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